On the 17th of June an unexpected call asking to band the eaglets, resulted in more specific information about them. Pete Datema is a graduate student from Clemson University, and Kendall Simon is a phd candidate from the University of Maryland. Kendall's field is environmental health and she has been banding eagles for 5 years.
Kendall climbed the 80+ feet to the nest and discovered that a raccoon had made a home in an older lower section of the nest. Luckily, it was as surprised as she was and it scurried down the tree. She then finished her climb and lowered one eaglet in a bag to Pete who took the measurements and samples and banded the birds. After one was finished, it was pulled back up to the nest and the second was lowered for Pete to work on. Kendall took photos of the birds in the nest before lowering herself to the ground.
Data gathered in this research is part of a long term studies by William Bowerman of the University of Maryland (formerly Clemson U.) The birds banded are part of a study monitoring the bald eagle population for over 50 years. The focus is upon heavy metals, pcb’s, and DDT in Great Lakes bald eagles as bio-indicators of overall environmental health. Feather samples yield DNA and show mercury, lead, selenium levels. Blood samples reveal levels of PCB’s and DDT. Various physical measurements are indicators of the overall health and development of the birds.
Special thanks to Dorothy Jamison and Kendall for photos
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